Top 5 Tips on Running Longer Distances

There are few more satisfying accomplishments than completing a long run. Whether it's a local half-marathon or the 42.2-kilometre Boston Marathon, being able to run long distances not only helps your health, but your self-esteem as well.

You can't just roll out of bed and run a marathon though. Increasing your running distance is a careful process -- rushing into it not only will make it more difficult to accomplish your goals, but could also make you more susceptible to injury.

Here are five tips to help you safely increase your running workload.

1. Have a gradual plan

It takes time to build up your stamina and muscle strength so that you can handle running long distances, so it's imperative to set realistic short-term goals. The most common method to increase distance is the 10-percent rule. For example, if you run 30 km one week, step it up to 33 km the next week, then 36.3 km the week after. This safely builds resistance and stamina.

2. Be well-equipped

Before starting a running program, it's important to have the correct gear, and that goes beyond having the proper running shoes. Having the correct socks is extremely important, as they provide cushion between your shoe and your foot. Improper socks can lead to blistering, which can undermine you by itself or lead to other injuries from overcompensating in other muscle and joint areas.

3. Listen to your body

A common cliche is "No Pain, No Gain." But ignoring your pain to "tough it out" can sabotage your progress. Not only are you subjecting yourself to injury, but you're also decreasing the enjoyment of running, which might cause you to cut off your training. If you're feeling excessive soreness, dial back your workload or take a day off. If you are feeling winded, there's nothing wrong with walking part of your distance.

4. Soft surfaces are good

The pounding of running can cause stress on bones and joints, especially when they aren't used to it. Therefore, condition your body by running on softer surfaces such as grass, dirt, or even a treadmill before integrating concrete and paved running paths into your workout.

5. Reward yourself

Distance running is a mental and physical grind. The best way to break through lulls or plateaus is to give yourself prizes for achieving workout goals. From a good meal to a new item of clothing to a day trip, an occasional prize for a job well done will give you the motivation to accomplish more in the future.

Before starting any running program, be sure to check out Sport Chek.ca for the latest in running gear and accessories.

Choosing the Right Shoe

Another critical piece of running longer distances is having the right shoes. Check out our Running Guide for more information on styles and fit.

This article and post is designed for educational purposes only. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is a possibility of physical injury. Please consult with a doctor prior to engaging in any exercise or exercise program. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk. Product selection is an individual choice and the consumer is responsible for determining whether or not any product is suitable based on the consumer’s circumstances.